The stereo microscope is essentially two compound microscopes designed to view samples at low magnification using light illumination. These two microscopes allow the sample to be viewed at the exact same point but at different angles. These angles allow the sample to be viewed in three dimensions. This microscope is typically used to perform work that requires a closer look such as dissection, watch-making, sorting, and microsurgery. They are also used to research the surface of solid specimens.
Horatio S. Greenough was the man who invented the stereo microscope. He was an American instrument designer and the son of a famous sculptor. In the 1890s Greenough submitted his stereo microscope plans to the Carl Zeiss Company. The company agreed to produce the microscope, but added an additional feature to the product that inverted prisms. His stereo microscope design became the forefather of the modern designs that followed. Greenough’s design has withstood the test of time and is still used for certain applications today.